A primary care physician has a lot of responsibilities up to his sleeves. When studying medicine a lot of students aspire to become primary care physicians. There are numerous primary care physician responsibilities. It is important to be aware of what a primary care physician does and what kind of responsibilities are there for any aspiring physician.
Who Is a Primary Care Physician?
Before going into the details about the responsibilities of primary care physicians, it is important to know who a primary physician is.
A primary physician provides deals with a wide variety of health issues. This physician is the first person every patient goes to when suffering from any kind of disease. At that point, the doctor decides whether the patient needs to be referred to a specialist or the disease can be managed by him. A lot of times, primary physicians work with other doctors to manage a patient’s health as well.
Why Visit a Primary Care Physician?
While visiting a primary care physician is not avoidable, a lot of patients want to approach specialists directly without knowing the basic cause of their ailment. Primary healthy care physicians specialize in diagnosing, getting all the tests done to find the actual health issue, as well as developing a proper treatment plan for their patients. It is up to them to decide whether a patient needs to be referred to another physician or not.
There are a lot of primary care physician responsibilities. A primary care physician provides a consistent treatment to the patients at different levels. The reason why you should visit a primary care physician is that:
- Familiarity With Your Health
A lot of patients think that they are fully aware of their health issues. While this is true to some extent, as the patient is the person going through all the problems caused by the disease, however, it is a primary care physician who can recognize the cause of the disease. Based on the diagnosis, the physician is able to develop the treatment plan.
A primary care physician is aware of the medical history of the patients, which helps in coming up with a personalized healthcare plan. It is not just better for you as a patient, but it saves a lot of time as well.
- Management And Prevention Of A Disease
When you go to a primary health care physician for whatever reason, he or she will go through your entire medical history first. So if you are already suffering from a major disease or a chronic condition, the physician will come up with a treatment plan which is in line with your other treatment plan. Primary care physician responsibilities include looking after the immunization history of the patients along with any other medical issues like hypertension, obesity, and diabetes before providing a treatment plan.
If you or someone you know has to get immunizations done, then you must visit a primary care physician.
- Better Overall Health
It has been noticed that people who regularly visit a primary care physician have better overall health as compared to those who do not. This is because such patients are constant with their follow-ups. Also, a primary care physician is the first point whenever it comes to any medical emergency.
Primary care physicians provide different types of tests, cancer screenings, and other diagnostic procedures as well.
How Is Primary Care Different from Emergency?
A lot of patients get confused between primary care and emergency care. Briefly explained, primary care is for patients who do not need any kind of immediate treatment. If you have got a minor burn, a sore throat, or maybe an ear infection, you can always go to a primary care physician. However, if it is something that needs immediate attention, if you have run into an accident, if someone in your home has got a severe allergic reaction, or someone has got a heart attack, you should immediately go to the emergency.
Patients who are suffering from a life and death scenario should be taken immediately to the emergency care, while those patients whose issues do not need immediate attention can wait till the next day to see a primary care physician.
What Kind of Primary Care Physician Should You Opt For?
When it comes to choosing a primary care physician, he or she must be able to fulfill all the primary care physician responsibilities. If you do not have a primary care physician and are planning to choose one, then here are some tips on how to choose the best for you:
- See What Your Insurance Plan Offers You
It is important to go through the list of the primary care physicians that your insurance policy covers for you. If your insurance does not allow you to choose doctors which are not a part of their network, then look for the best among the available ones.
- If The Physician Has A Board Certification
It is important to check if your physician is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialities before booking an appointment.
- Check Out If The Physician Sits In Your Vicinity
It is important to have a doctor who sits nearby your home or office. Also, the physician you choose should be easily accessible by both private as well as public transport. Reaching your doctor should not be difficult, this is why having someone who is easily approachable is always a good idea.
- What Are The Physician’s Office Hours?
The physician’s working hours must be compatible with your office hours as well as the school hours of your kids. Having an available physician, in the evenings, on the weekends, and even on-call is always a good idea. This is especially true when you have got kids and inflexible working hours.
- Does The Physician Have An Online Presence?
It is difficult to reach the doctor physically a lot of times. Many physicians are now offering online consultation through telemedicine. You can take or cancel appointments online and even check your test results as well.
Different Types of Primary Care Physicians
There was a time when a general doctor used to look at the basic ailments of the patients. However, now different types of primary care physicians specialize in different areas of medicine. These primary care physicians' responsibilities are the same even though their areas of expertise may differ from one another.
Physicians who practice internal medicine are called internists. These physicians are like family physicians, only that their specialization lies in treating adults. These adults suffer from different chronic and acute diseases. They are further trained in different branches.
Just like Internists, these physicians also specialize in treating adults, but those who are much older. They are experts in treating issues like dementia, insomnia, and other problems.
Pediatricians specialize in treating babies, children, and young adults. They not only provide them with basic health care but also further specialize in different other areas as well. a pediatrician can be a specialist in Paeds Surgery, Paeds Cardiology, Paeds Neurology, etc.
- Family Doctors
Family doctors are responsible for treating patients belonging to every age group, although most of their patients are small children.
- OB-GYN (Obstetrics-Gynecologists)
These physicians focus on female reproductive health, which includes pregnancy, childbirth, birth control, as well as aftercare. Some OB-GYNs provide services like internists and family doctors as well.
Some Primary Care Physician Responsibilities
A Primary care physician is responsible for diagnosing, treating, and managing a wide variety of diseases prevalent among patients of almost every age group.
Primary care physicians:
- Screen Their Patients
Screening is the first important step when it comes to making a diagnosis. From running simple blood tests to conducting cancer screenings, everything is the responsibility of a primary care physician.
- Give Immunizations
If you want to get your immunization refilled, you have to go visit a primary care physician. If you are already on an immunization plan, then it is your physician’s job to keep it up to date as well.
- Conduct Tests
When you are suffering from a disease and there is a change in your condition, the primary care physician is responsible for conducting tests for a further diagnosis. This is true for any new diseases from which you are suffering as well.
- Treat Their Patients
Whether the patient is suffering from an injury or some disease, a primary care physician is responsible for coming up with a good treatment plan.
- Help In Managing Diseases
When a patient is suffering from a chronic or an acute illness, a primary care physician is responsible for managing the condition.
- Refer To The Specialist
In case the patients need help from a specialist, a primary care physician is responsible for referring them to one. A lot of times the physicians also work with the specialists in treating and managing the disease as well.
Last Words: If you are aspiring to be a primary care physician, remember that one of the major primary care physicians’ responsibilities is to develop a good relationship with their patients.